All About Balance

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All About Balance

By Angela Naeth, Professional Triathlete

In the past couple of weeks I have had a number of comments from people I know about balance. Some feel that I’m not living a “balanced” life and that I should take a step back from triathlon and enjoy life. Enjoy life? I am enjoying life…more than ever! Waking up in the morning and moving my body is exactly what I enjoy doing. I don’t think of being an athlete as a job and maybe that is what these others are thinking. It makes me assume that these people who feel I am not “balanced” may not like their jobs and feel that I’m working 24/7 at a job I don’t necessarily enjoy. This is definitely NOT the case.

For me, being a full-time athlete (meaning, I don’t do much else) is a gift. I love it! I enjoy having the days slip away while I’m out riding my bike, running, swimming or doing some other form of training. I enjoy going to bed early, waking up early, and staying away from all the hoopla that nightlife provides. I enjoy reading and talking about the sport. What is the harm in doing something you love day in and day out? Is there any harm in it?

Of course there are days that I’m tired and want to get away from the routine of training, but these are few and far between. If I’m tired, I listen to my body and rest. If I’m bored or sick of something I’m doing, I am sure to change it up. The beauty of triathlon is that you have three distinctly different disciplines in which to challenge yourself. If you get bored of swimming, you run; if you get bored of running, you bike; and so on. The best thing about all of this is that triathlon is a sport – a game, if you will. This is precisely where the balance resides. I take it very seriously – you have to when competing at the highest level – but I also know that in the end, racing is a game. And who doesn’t love games? Triathlon provides me the ability to challenge myself in ways in which I don’t believe I would otherwise. I want to do my best and that means living my best each day – sleeping well, eating well, training well…and, well, enjoying it.

The problem I see when people say I need “balance” in my life is that they either:

1. Don’t understand what it really means to love what they do 100%.

2. Hate their jobs and want to follow their dreams but are too scared to try.

3. Worry too much about what others think—family members, friends, etc.

4. Might be jealous or envious. (I would be too!)

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I do believe it is important to enjoy other things in life, and I do. The other half of my “job” is recovering from my training, so it’s my job to put my feet up and watch an episode of Lost on Netflix or slip in my Yurbuds and relax to some tunes. But what is “balance”? What does having “balance” in your life really mean? Is it not balance in your life when you do the very things that give you happiness? Pleasure is one thing – I could watch movies all days, eat candy and chocolate, hang out with friends at bars – but to me this is NOT happiness. Not even close. I feel like crap the next day or two and that’s supposed to give me balance in life?

Attempting to be the best you can be offers the ultimate in happiness. I love triathlon, the challenge, the way I feel after training, during training, and even on those tired days when all I want to do is sleep and not move a muscle. That is life to me….that is why I have the body, mind and spirit that I do. So, the next time someone asks me about so-called “balance,” I’ll counter with, “Balance to what? Balance in trying and finding the time to enjoy life? I’ve already got that down.” Sadly, it seems some people may just never understand.

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